AN eight-year-old schoolboy has written to Sir Richard Branson asking for ideas how to save ancient St Chads Saddleworth.
In a touching handwritten appeal to the tycoon, Jack Greenhalgh says: “You have lots of good ideas to make money — you’re the richest man I know.
“With this in mind I wondered if you could help me raise money so the church doesn’t close.”
In his letter Jack explains he was christened at the church, which he still attends with his family.
“The church needs a lot of work on the building and the roof. It has been estimated it will cost about £1 million,” he wrote.
‘If we don’t raise the money the church will close. I don’t want it to happen as I feel really happy when I’ve been to church with my mum and my family.”
Jack, who lives in Greenfield, explained: “I was so upset when I found out that if Saddleworth Church doesn’t raise the money it will have to close.
“My mum has been going to this church since she was a little girl. My uncle and aunty got married there and I was christened there so it’s very important to me.
“I feel really happy when I’m in church, singing and being involved with shows – especially at Christmas – with my friends.
“When I found out how much money the church needs I thought ‘that’s a lot, A LOT, of money’ so I was thinking what I could do and who could help us.
“My mum said we needed to think big so I was thinking about who had a lot of money and how they got it.
“I know Sir Richard has airplanes, trains and wants to go into space so he must have a lot of good ideas.
“I thought if I write to him he might help me come up with some ideas to help us… Fingers crossed.”
His proud mother Lindsay said: “Jack loves church and being involved with all the activities they do.
“He was so upset that the ideas he was coming up with would leave us somewhat short still, so we started thinking of ideas outside the box.
“Richard Branson was the obvious answer – self-made with so many ideas and projects he is involved with.
“Jack has been writing letters at school so it was his idea to write to him. I’m not sure there will be a response but Jack is hopeful.”
Reverend Canon Sharon Jones, Saddleworth Team Rector, is spearheading an appeal to raise the money to save the ancient parish church above Uppermill.
She said: “Jack and his family have been part of the St Chads Church family for many years.
“Jack approached me one morning and told me he had an idea to write to Sir Richard Branson for ideas.
“With no direct links to Saddleworth, the project may not be high on Sir Richard’s radar but the fact it clearly matters so much to Jack and other children will hopefully at least prompt a reply.”
She added: “We are drawing together a group of qualified and experienced individuals who are enthusiastic and passionate in taking a lead in the Save Saddleworth Church Project.
“Helpful suggestions around increasing our profile on social media are being taken seriously, as are the numerous fund-raising ideas.
“Saddleworth School and St Chads school have particularly expressed an intention to raise awareness and work with us in making the vision a reality.”
To see how you can help the parish church survive, visit their website: cofeinsaddleworth.org.uk/seeing-is-believing